08 Mar 2020

Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu won the first titles to be decided at the 2020 European Under 21 Championships in Varazdin; on Saturday 7th March they secured mixed doubles gold.

However, the players to attract the attention were Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica and Sweden’s Christina Källberg; each booked unexpected semi-final places in the respective men’s singles and women’s singles events.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Safely through to the penultimate round, Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu, the no.3 seeds, ended French hopes.

They accounted for Irvin Bertrand and Leili Mostafavi, the no.9 seeds (11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9), prior to overcoming Bastien Rembert and Nolwenn Fort, the no.6 seeds, (11-7, 2-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8) to seal the title. In the opposite half of the draw, Bastien Rembert and Nolwenn Fort had ousted Belgium’s Laurens Devos and Lisa Lung, the no.4 seeds (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7), to reserve their place in the title decider.

Greater success

Success for Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu, it was arguably greater success for Andrei Putuntica and Christina Källberg.

The no.23 seed in the men’s singles event, Andrei Putuntica beat Frenchman Jules Rolland, the no.4 seed (11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9), prior to overcoming Belgium’s Florian Cnudde, the no.5 seed (11-3, 11-3, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7) to reserve his place in the last four.

Andrei Putuntica in determined mood (Photo: Martin Novosel)


Upsetting the odds, the other names to advance to the semi-final round of the men’s singles event were more predictable.

Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko, the top seed, accounted for Ioannis Sgouropoulos of Greece, the no.12 seed (11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 13-11, 9-11, 12-10), prior to overcoming colleague Artur Abusev, the no.10 seed (11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9) and first round winner in opposition to Bastien Rembert of France, the no.2 seed (13-11, 11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7).

Similarly, Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.3 seed, progressed by beating Hungary’s Csaba Andras, the no.52 seed (7-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5) and Frenchman Irvin Bertrand, the no.13 seed (11-7, 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9). In a similar vein, Belgium’s Laurens Devos, the no.6 seed, overcame Germany’s Gerritt Engemann, the no.11 seed (14-12, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9), before causing France more pain by ending the hopes of Leo de Nodrest, the no.15 seed (11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 13-11).

Men’s singles: semi-finals

  • Laurens Devos (Belgium) v Rares Sipos (Romania)
  • Andrei Putuntica (Moldova) v Vladimir Sidorenko (Russia)


Also against expectations

Progress against the odds for Andrei Putuntica; in the counterpart women’s singles event, it the same for both Christina Källberg and to a slightly lesser extent for Prithika Pavade of France.

Christina Källberg, the no.22 seed, caused a major first round upset by beating Russia’s Mariia Tailakova, the no.3 seed (7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7), prior to ousting Slovenia’s Ana Tofant, the no.7 seed (9-11, 4-11, 15-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6).

Christina Källberg excelling expectations (Photo: Martin Novosel)


Good form from Christina Källberg; it was the same from Prithika Pavade, the no.9 seed; she beat Ukraine’s Solomiya Brateyko, the no.31 seed (11-3, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6) and Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova, the no.5 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8) to reach the last four.

Unexpected semi-finalists, the remaining places were filled as anticipated by Romania’s Andreea Dragoman and Adina Diaconu. The top seed, Andreea Dragoman beat Russia’s Olga Vishniakova, the no.31 seed (13-11, 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7) and Camille Lutz of France (7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-13, 11-13, 11-2, 11-4). Adina Diaconu, the no.2 seed, overcame Russia’s Anastasia Kolish, the no.6 seed (11-4, 11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4), followed by success in opposition to Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn, the no.27 seed (11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-13, 11-4, 11-6).

Women’s singles: semi-finals

  • Andreea Dragoman (Romania) v Christina Källberg (Sweden)
  • Prithika Pavade (France) v Adina Diaconu (Romania)


Surprise defeat

Success for Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman but not in the women’s doubles; at the semi-final stage, the top seeds, they were beaten by Russia’s Mariia Tailakova and Kristina Kasatseva, the no.3 seeds (7-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9).

Mariia Tailakova (left) and (right) Kristina Kazantseva, the somewhat surprise winners against Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman (Photo: Martin Novosel)


Similarly, in the opposite half of the draw there was a surprise outcome; the French pairing of Leili Mostafavi and Nolwenn Fort, the no.6 seeds, accounted for Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn and Katarzyna Wegrzyn, the no.4 seeds (11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9).

Women’s Doubles: Final

    • Mariia Tailakova / Kristina Kasatseva (Russia) v Leili Mostafavi / Nolwenn Fort (France)


Surprise finalists in the women’s doubles event; it was the same in the men’s doubles.

Surprise semi-finalists, Jiri Martinko (foreground) and Andrei Putuntica (Photo: Martin Novosel)

Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Rares Sipos, the no.4 seeds, prevailed as expected against Frenchmen Irvin Bertrand and Leo de Nodrest, the no.6 seeds (11-3, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9); contrary to predictions in the adjacent half of the draw, Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica and the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko, the no.9 seeds, ended the hopes of Belgium’s Laurens Devos and Florian Cnudde, the no.3 seeds (11-5, 11-2, 9-11, 11-5).

Men’s Doubles: Final

  • Cristian Pletea / Rares Sipos (Romania) v Andrei Putuntica / Jiri Martinko (Moldova ‘ Czech Republic)

Play in Varazdin concludes on Sunday 8th March.

2020 European Under 21 Championships Cristian Pletea Adina Diaconu Christina Källberg Andrei Putuntica

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